The Irish Translators’ and Interpreters’ Association (ITIA) raised a valuable question relating to an underfunded interpreting sector earlier this month, and there are some language service providers (LSPs) looking to find the answer.
Mary Phelan, who is chairperson of the organisation, put forward the issue in a national newspaper, where she conveyed the ITIA’s concerns about the current state of standards, regulation and training for interpreters in Ireland.
However, despite the suggestion in the piece that “there’s no training course in Ireland,” some LSPs are providing a pragmatic approach to upskilling interpreters here, ensuring standards can be improved.
TRANSLIT is an interpreting and translation focused company that has two offices in Ireland as well as new locations in London and Moscow. Last year during the global pandemic they recognised an opportunity to set up their own training division to address the standards of interpreter training.
TRANSLIT Pro was originally created to upskill their own interpreters but has evolved into a wider operation with over 3,000 participants worldwide attending more than 70 events in the past 18 months.
“We launched TRANSLIT Pro when the whole world was in lockdown as an experiment. Within just a few months, our courses and webinars were sold out and we realised that low interpreting standards and lack of training is not just a problem in Ireland, it’s a global issue,” said Mr Alex Chernenko, CEO and founder of TRANSLIT.
“Initially, we expected beginners and somewhat experienced interpreters would join the courses but it also attracted very experienced interpreters with more than ten years on the job.
“We are proud that we are the first and only training provider in Ireland whose interpreting courses are CPD certified. And since its launch we have had a UK-based translation company and a University from the USA upskilling their interpreters with us.”
In recent years the ITIA has worked with the Irish government and European Commissioner for Justice towards improving interpreting provisions and standards, while some LSPs have taken a proactive approach.
Community Interpreting is perhaps the most pressing issue, with the health and justice systems affected by the non-regulation and low standards of some of the interpreters they use.
TRANSLIT Pro delivers a six-hour online training programme teaching the fundamental principles of community interpreting and core interpreting skills. This course is also certified by CPD UK, one of the largest and leading independent Continuing Professional Development accreditation organisations.
“One of the main principles we follow is to make the training practical and focused, aiming to achieve the best learning outcomes for the participants in the shortest time-frame and at the lowest cost,” said Mr. Chernenko.
“We are trying to deal with the issue of the sometimes unsatisfactory interpreting not only by improving interpreters’ skills, but also by teaching professionals who work with interpreters. Therefore, we have developed a new training webinar that will help workers in public services to get the best out of each interpreting session.
“We received feedback from both interpreters and clients that many clients simply do not know how to work with interpreters. They make it difficult for interpreters to do their job and they are not prepared to operate through another person. That’s not the client’s fault, it’s simply a lack of knowledge and training.
“That is why we are launching a new critical training for public bodies, civil servants, non-profit organisations and businesses that work with interpreters.
“This is the first training of its kind and it will play a positive role in Ireland’s journey to promote inclusion and will create a friendly and healthy atmosphere for all parties involved.”